Tempo Story

by publicationarchive

Originally released in 1989, Steel Magnolias is star-studded withnames such as Julia Roberts, Sally Field and Shirley MacLaine. Thiswas one of Julia Roberts’ first movies, after Mystic Pizza, butbefore Pretty Woman made her a star.

The movie takes place in a small town in Louisiana where everyoneknows everyone else’s business. A lot of the movie takes place at thelocal beauty shop run by Truvy (Dolly Parton). This is where thelatest gossip is circulated, with Clairee (Olympia Dukakis) as themain source of scandalous information. Clairee admits to hergossiping, and perfectly sums up her character at the same time: “Ifyou can’t say anything nice about anybody, come sit next to me.”

The story revolves around Shelby (Roberts) and her struggle withdiabetes, as well as with how her family deals with her condition,especially her mother M’lynn (Field). The situation gets emotionalwhen Shelby gets married to a lawyer named Jackson (Dylan McDermott),and brings a son into the equation. Always conscious of herdaughter’s condition, M’lynn knows it’s hard enough for Shelby’s bodyto function without the stress of a baby, so when Shelby announcesher pregnancy, M’lynn is far from ecstatic. Giving birth to Jack Jr.puts tremendous stress on Shelby’s kidneys and causes her health todeteriorate.

From there on, the movie has many tear-jerking moments and makesthe audience fall in love with its characters. One of the saddestscenes takes place in the hospital after Shelby has gone into a coma.M’lynn brings a picture of Shelby and Jack Jr. together and pleadsfor Shelby to open her eyes and see it. She eventually breaks downwhen it’s clear Shelby won’t respond.

Sally Field’s performance as M’Lynn is brilliant and believable.She is able to go from one emotion to the next flawlessly. There aretimes when you almost want to reach out and hug her because of whatshe is enduring.

Dukakis and MacLaine are wonderful together and feed off eachother’s impeccable comedic timing. These two friends prove that thereis a fine line between love and hate with their tense relationship asClairee and Ouiser. The dialogue between them is hilarious, and thewriting throughout the movie is outstanding.

Although this may not be a hit with the gentlemen, it’s a sure hitfor girls and their mothers, or women and their groups of friends.The central theme of the movie and of Shelby’s character can beencapsulated in one line: “I’d rather have 30 minutes of wonderfulthan a lifetime of nothin’ special.”

– Jessica Siegfried